16 May 2011

UPDATE (7th June 2010) - In an interview with Karl Stewart (brand director), my question about if the Endurance which was destroyed in 1912 inspired the name of Lara's ship, was asked. Karl confirmed this and said that Crystal loved the story of Shackleton and not only is the boat's name inspired by the voyage, but also Conrad Roth shows similar traits with Ernst Shackleton. 

Since December, I've always wondered about one thing. We had the announcment of the new game that came with a gorgeous image of the new rebooted Lara, the introduction of Conrad Roth, screenshots, summery etc...But there was something which wasn't fully explained. Lara does have a tendacy to break things; tombs, temples, artefacts, people's sanity, but nevertheless how she got to be on that island was kept a mystery. In the background of a piece of concept artwork was wreckage of a ship (the one we know she came to the island on) , it was also mentioned in the summery of the game. The ship's name is Endurance.

The Endurance from Tomb Raider's Concept Artwork

I study English at my college. On Wednesday to test our exam skills on choosing words and techniques and expanding on them, my English teacher handed around an article for us to look through. He introduced the topic first by using a documentary clip from YouTube and then by going through the history. 99 years ago, a ship set sail for what it became it's final journey and by 1914 the journey ended. The ship crashed and became locked within ice and the crew had to survive the harsh conditions. Fortunately after some time they discovered an island....The ship was also called Endurance.

It's not a big leap to say that the ship that Lara was aboard was based on the ship that was locked in the ice in 1914. It has not been released yet what has happened to Lara's ship, theories of a sort of Bemuda Triangle has been thrown around the forums. Whatever made the Endurance crashed, also was kind enough to crash several others...Psirens perhaps? Since this is Tomb Raider where Atlantis, Excalibur and Thor's Hammer exsists perhaps it's not a crazy theory...Just unlikely. I'm presuming it's something to do with currents, the jaggered rocks would smash any ship that hits it at such a force, it's possible that there some tide or wormhole (you can see I'm fantastic when it comes to understanding underwater tremors). I read an article from one of the gaming magazines focusing on the game and it said that it was meant to be a tsumani but I believe that it was an issue was translated and I have no idea how reliable it is. 

The first Endurance, locked in the ice
It's interesting to see where the similarites lie. The real Endurance set sail for what it later became it's last adventure in 1914, two years after being built in 1912. Tomb Raider is also rumoured to be released in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the incident. The ship set sail from Plymouth, like the one in the game. Unlike Lara's world, the real ship became stuck after drifting through the ice and slush. The locking forced the crew of 28 men to abandon the ship which eventually sunk due to the frozen water crushing it. The men then travelled, facing the cold and dark conditions to what they hoped would be their salvation. Later they became the first people to set foot on a mysterious island, later named Elephant Island.

Something happens early on in the game (set 3 weeks after leaving the port if the leaked script is to be believed) causing the boat to crash and Lara ends up on the island, literally fighting for survival. The island may not be the ice covered Elephant Island but it's instead someplace unknown near Japan. As Lara once said in Legend; "The similarities are striking." 

The real Endurance ship encased in thick ice

The final photograph of the ship before it fell victim to the sea

As of yet there has been no official confirmation about if the Endurance in the game is based on the ship 99 years ago, but if not it's a big coincidence. There's a pretty cool documentary about the real voyage on YouTube, so if you're interested make sure to check it out!


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